Where Have All the Children Gone?


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 If anyone had any remaining presence of mind to launch an investigation afterwards, they might have traced its origin to an arts festival in a small town on North America’s west coast.

     At the Father’s Day weekend festival, judges of the Children’s Art puzzled over the unusual entries. Every child at every grade level had submitted the identical picture. Schools and art teachers swore that they had not limited their students to one theme, yet every entry reflected the same subject matter.

     “Tell me about your picture?” asked one judge of a kindergartner.

     “It’s the Lion King, of course!” exclaimed the would-be artist. “See? There’s his crown and his trumpet!”

     The judge persisted. “What is he doing?”

     “He’s giving all the kids a ride in the sky,” was the answer, and then, with smug confidence, “For Father’s Day. It’s a surprise!”

     Only in September when schools re-opened, did the media catch on. Like water seepage, the phenomenon had spread east and west, north and south. Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, New York; Iceland, Paraguay, China, England. Teachers, parents and art instructors tried everything they knew to redirect the children’s fixation. Still it spread until over the course of the year it circled the globe, the east and west waves finally meeting in Jerusalem in the week before Father’s Day.

     On Friday schools and parents became concerned enough to bring the matter to the attention of the Jerusalem Education Administration, who in turn decided that it was a matter for the rabbis.

     Nothing could be done on Saturday, but the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, detecting a note of urgency in the request, scheduled a meeting with school principals, PTA associations, and officials of the Education Administration, for 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Representatives from the Jerusalem American International School asked to be included, willing to delay their Father’s Day celebrations for the sake of getting a handle on the issue. To their knowledge, no other nation had so far initiated a formal inquiry into what was behind the universal drawing.

     The meeting never took place. At midnight on Saturday night a blast shook them all out of their beds. Some later said it sounded like a super-sized fog horn; still others claimed it was thunder, although the weather was perfectly calm that night; many thought it to be the sound of a trumpet.

     One thing was certain: every child in the city leaped out of bed, shouted as if with one voice, “The Lion King!” ran out of their homes… and disappeared.

     As dawn broke over the panicked city, news began to filter through of similar events circling the globe. There seemed no explanation – and no trace of a child anywhere.

     Years later, all that remained on a planet where the sound of children’s voices had fallen silent, were millions of pictures mounted in a thousand memorial museums, of children astride a crowned white lion and a trumpet in the clouds. 

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Nancy Schimmel

Since I've read the Narnia books, I had a clue to the ending. Well done!

Tracy Allott

the religious sense using the Lion King as icon of salvation and innocent children taken out of a decaying world into clouds comes across well.Hope you can rate and read my flash read entry sent 3 days ago on child theme, Strangers on the Shore, thanks T Allott.



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